Let's be upfront here: this was a pure hockey deal. Far too often, teams are negotiating with an eye on the salary cap, but both of these teams had room to deal with the ability to pick up some salary. In saying that, neither team assumes a ton of salary one or the other, but both get a chance to improve their teams through this trade. For the first time in a long time, we get to see a pure hockey trade which resulted in a multi-player deal that should help both teams.
The Jets were actively shopping Kane, and they certainly wanted a decent return for the disgruntled winger. I don't think anyone imagined it would be the haul they received from Buffalo. Vancouver and Washington were reportedly in the discussions regarding Kane's availability, but Buffalo clearly anted up the best deal in this poker hand, and they will now have Kane's services at their disposal for the foreseeable future.
Let's take a look at each of the players involved in this deal.
OFF TO BUFFALO...
In Buffalo, he'll get a chance to start over with a team that is in full rebuild mode. Kane could and should occupy one of the winger spots on the top line next season with Sabres, and will most likely be looking at one of Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel, or Connor McDavid as his centerman. He shouldn't have a problem being the shooter from any of those exceptional setup men, and we could see him breakout of his perceived lack of production in Winnipeg.
With Buffalo being somewhat similar to Winnipeg - a small market, hockey-mad city - fans will love his showmanship if he lights the lamp repeatedly. He can't lose focus, though, or he'll hear the fans in Buffalo calling for his head as often as they did in Winnipeg. If his childish antics begin to creep into the locker room once more, expect Ted Nolan to set him straight. If he doesn't get that message, he'll be on the trading block once more as Nolan won't put up with some of the stuff that was swept under the rug here in Winnipeg.
Bogosian will be a steady presence for the Sabres as they rebuild. He certainly won't win any Norris Trophies, but he'll stabilize a defence corps that couldn't find a home for Tyler Myers. He's generally safe in his own zone, can be a wrecking ball when needed to be, and should be a presence on the Sabres' blue line for some time at the age of 24. A lot of people have said how underrated Bogosian was with the Jets. I disagree with the idea that he was underrated as much as he was unnoticed. Being unnoticed as a defenceman usually means you're doing your job well, and Sabres fans will appreciate that aspect of Bogosian's game.
COMING TO WINNIPEG...
Like Kane, untapped potential is what the Jets see in Myers. Head coach Paul Maurice has seen a case like Myers before as he had a young Chris Pronger in Hartford. It will be up to Maurice and assistance coach Charlie Huddy to groom Myers and bring him back to the form that saw him win the Calder Trophy. Pairing him with Toby Enstrom should help the youngster, and Maurice has stated that he'll work with Myers in the same vein that he worked with Dustin Byfuglien to refine his game. That has to excite Winnipeg fans and the Jets organization if Myers can discover his game as much as Byfuglien has.
While this won't be what Jets fan want to hear, if things with Myers simply don't work out over the next month for whatever reason, the Jets can still look at dealing Myers to a team needing a defenceman. There were rumors that the Detroit Red Wings were looking at Myers before today's trade. Could the Jets find a way to bring in Teemu Pulkkinen if he were available in a Myers-to-Detroit deal? Of course, the Jets don't want to be in that situation, so let's toss Myers some credit here in that he'll buy into whatever it is Maurice and company have in store for him, and he becomes the next Pronger or Chara in this league. After all, 6'8" defencemen don't just fall out of trees in the NHL.
Stafford's downfall, however, is his ability to become invisible. Too often in games this season, he's neither contributed on the scoresheet nor has he piled on the secondary stats. Part of that has to do with his roster slot in Buffalo, so he'll need to bring it every night if he hopes to convince the Jets' brass to sign him to a contract next season. He doesn't need to be a point-per-game player if he can block shots, throw hits, and stay on the plus side of the plus-minus, but he certainly can't skate fifteen minutes and record nothing tangible. The Jets will expect him to hold up that end of the bargain in this deal.
SO WHO WON THE TRADE?Man, I hate that question. Winning and losing a trade all depend on optics. You could say the Jets won by trading Evander Kane's contract to the Sabres. You could say that the Sabres won by getting Tyler Myers off their blue line. You could say that the additional pieces Winnipeg received gives them the upper hand, but there's no guarantee any of Armia, Lemieux, or whoever they pick in the draft will make it to the NHL.
In the short term, it appears Winnipeg wins simply due to the fact that Kane is done for the season with his shoulder injury. However, we won't start seeing the fruits of Buffalo's moves until next season because of that fact, so let's leave this one as "they're both happy".
ARE YOU HAPPY?Hell yes. I love that Winnipeg is actually willing to take a chance on Myers and Stafford. In fact, I asked this very question on Twitter on February 3. I took some heat for this tweet:
I'm not saying I called this trade at all, but it seemed like something that would be easy to do considering both teams' needs when I looked at the pieces of the deal. I had suggested Bogosian, Postma, Galiardi, and a mid-round pick to go to Buffalo, but that was before the Kane fiasco in Winnipeg. When that story broke, all bets were off and Kane was, as we now know, a marked man.
I don't understand why Winnipeg can't make a deal with Buffalo for Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers. Of course, Buffalo may say no, but c'mon.— Teebz (@TeebzHBIC) February 3, 2015
SO IN SHORT...Let's call it as it is: both teams got what they wanted, both teams added pieces they think they need, and both teams come away happy with the results. Sometimes, hockey trades just work for both sides. This is one of those deals where the real results of the trade may not be seen for several seasons or longer.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!